Organic Gardening Tips from A to Z

If you're an avid gardener, try these time-saving organic gardening tips, tricks, and shortcuts.

| February/March 1994

Those of you who care about nature (and since you're reading MOTHER EARTH NEWS, odds are you do) can probably think of any number of good reasons to garden organically. But probably the best reason—if you plan to eat what comes from your garden—is the clean, fresh, and safe produce you'll enjoy when the time is right and ripe. To help you find success, here are some useful organic gardening tips.

Apple Maggots On the Run 

Here is a brew that will trap one of the worst enemies of your apple crop: the apple maggot. Mix one part molasses with nine parts water, then add yeast to produce fermentation. Pour this mixture into wide mouth jars and hang in nearby trees.

Banana Peel Fertilizer

Chop banana peels and add into soil when you transplant tomatoes and green peppers. This will ensure very strong trunks and stems. Banana peels contain 3.25% phosphorus and 41.76% potash. They're also an excellent fertilizer for roses, but use sparingly; two or three peels per bush at a time is about right.

Carrot Soil

Carrots like to grow in loose, sandy soil. If you have clay soil you will find carrots very challenging. In Midwest Gardening, Denny McKeown offers an excellent solution: "Simply dig a trench 12" deep and the width of your shovel. Mix sand and peat humus with some of the existing soil (about 50/50), and backfill the trench. Then plant your carrot seeds."

Daddy Longlegs

Most active at night, daddy longlegs (also known as harvestman), prey on aphids, mites, leafhoppers, and other garden insects.

Eggshell Mulch 

Not only do they add lime, nitrogen, and phosphorus to the soil, eggshells also help to foil cutworms when crushed and sprinkled around seedlings.

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